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The Cob Courtyard

The cob couryard is located by the playground at the south end of Dufferin Grove Park, Toronto, Ontario, near Dufferin and Bloor. See map.

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Cob In The Park (Main)

Welcome to Cob in the Park (

posted September, 2006

Welcome to the website for the earthen courtyard wall project at Dufferin Grove Park! The project has four parts: the cob courtyard, which is primarily a food facility, the cob composting toilet facility (the bio-toilet), benches, and related activities in other parks. To learn about cob see About Cob.


We keep a maintenance diary to keep track of what works and what not over the year.

shingles missing, May 2019

Maintenance 2022

Maintenance 2021

Maintenance 2020

Maintenance 2019

Maintenance 2018

more years


The cob courtyard: a food facility

The cob courtyard

Toronto Public Health inspectors told us to get proper sinks for food preparation by the wading pool or stop having snacks at the playground food cart. Georgie Donais directed the building of a little courtyard around the sinks, for food service, and to create an outdoor gathering-place. The courtyard walls are built with a sand-clay-straw mix known as “cob” or “monolithic adobe”, which is mixed by foot and applied by hand.

The cob bio-toilet project

View from the East side

The only thing missing from the playground area now is a handy toilet. The composting toilet project, intended to provide toilet facilities handy to the playground, began summer 2006 with over $20,000 in donations. The hole was dug, the foundation was built, the composting toilet assembly was donated, and a building permit was obtained. However, the obstacles continued to mount until it was apparent that the project as originally conceived could not proceed.

In November 2010, the City commissioned a Bio-Toilet Feasibility Study. Here is the report.

Cob benches

The sofa

Building benches is an ongoing project at the park. In 2006 and 2007, we built two benches along the Gladstone path and three benches on the east side of the wading pool using different building and plastering methods.

Other earthen building activities in public space

The Crombie Park floor plan

We work with people in other Toronto locations to help them create earthen structures in their neighbourhoods. For example, The Downtown Alternative School (DAS) has applied to build a peace garden including planters and cob benches in Crombie Park


click to read Georgie's blog

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